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A Message of Hope Forgotten with Time

Its not very often that the same generation is able to witness three of the greatest miracles of all time.  First century residents living along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea were fortunate eyewitnesses to these miraculous events.  A few months prior to the census in the days of Caesar Augustus, a priest reflects upon his encounter with an angel.  The only problem is that Zacharias becomes mute due to his initial doubts.  Thus, Zacharias is forced to participate in the very first game of Charades to explain what happened behind closed doors while in the temple.  At his son John’s circumcision, Zacharias regains his ability to speak.  Filled with the Holy Spirit, Zacharias begins to prophesize about the hope that Israel and the world will soon experience.

And Mary said,“My soul magnifies and exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. “For He has looked [with loving care] on the humble state of His maidservant;
For behold, from now on all generations will count me blessed and happy and favored by God! – Luke 1:46-48

Zacharias’ wife Elizabeth is the first to be made aware of the conception of God’s son.  The moment Mary visit Elizabeth during the final three months of her pregnancy, the sound of Mary’s voice caused John to leap in her womb.  Immediately following this, Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirt as she begins to prophecize about Mary’s virgin birth.  Although engaged to be married to Joseph, the Holy Spirit supernaturally used one sperm from God the Father to conceive, enabling Mary to be pregnant without any physical or sexual contact.  The news of this reality overwhelms Mary, inspiring what the Bible calls Mary’s song.  The beginning of this song is highlighted above as Mary praises God for this special anointing and blessing.

Now Zacharias his father was filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered by Him, and he prophesied, saying,“Blessed (praised, glorified) be the Lord, the God of Israel, Because He has visited us and brought redemption to His people, Luke 1:67-68.

Thirty three years later, Mary watched helplessly as her son Jesus was sentenced to death on a cross.  Although the Passion of the Christ depicts Mary watching Jesus being flogged thirty nine times, its unclear whether Mary was present for each of these violent lashings.  Mary watched Jesus be nailed to a cross, suffer and die hours later.  The only thing comparable today is a parent enduring the anguish of a child battling terminal cancer.  A few days later, the funeral is cancelled when an angel conveys that Jesus was raised from the dead.  According to Luke and the other gospel authors, Jesus appeared to several hundred eyewitnesses, walking, talking and revealing his scars to doubters.  While atheists, progressives and skeptics continue to plant doubt in the minds of modern day people of faith, these events are non-fiction.  Therefore, if you are in desperate need of good news, this blog is a message of hope forgotten by time.

by Jay Mankus

Give Me A Clue Lord

Sometimes I feel as if life is an endless game show filled with segments of CharadesHangman and Wheel of Fortune.  Like a Nickelodeon late night rerun, I have moments where I feel as if I am acting out life just as God intended.  Unfortunately, there are other choices, decisions and errors I make which put me one step closer to game over.  Or there are days like today in which I am compelled to buy a vowel so I can begin to solve the puzzle staring at me.  In other words, give me a clue Lord.

The prophet Elijah had similar feelings in 1 Kings 19:10.  After receiving a death threat from Queen Jezebel, Elijah literally runs for his life without crying out to the Lord in prayer.  While on the run, Elijah begins to feel all alone, as if there is no one else on earth who understands what he is going through.  In this desperate state, the Lord gives Elijah a series of clues to bring him back on track, 1 Kings 19:11-13.

Besides fasting, prayer and reading the Bible, there is one clue most believers fail to notice or recognize, the whisper of God.  No, I am not talking about The Sixth Sense scene when Cole says, “I see dead people!”  Rather, I am referring to God’s still small voice, similar to a sheep being able to recognize their shepherd’s voice, John 10:4-5.  If you are paying attention to your surroundings, alert and sober, you will be more likely to discern what God wants you to do, respond or say, leading to more clues.

Like the search in the first National Treasure film, your quest for life’s answers can lead you on a wild goose chase.  In fact, those around you may even try to convince you to quit, giving up before you obtain your dream.  Nonetheless, this is when you have to dig down deep, cling to what you know is right and follow the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.  There will be distractions along the way, Matthew 7:13-14, but if you fully obey God’s commands, these clues will lead you to a promised land, Deuteronomy 28:1-2.

by Jay Mankus

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